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Module 4 Discussion
Consider one of the following cases:
1. An airline pilot goes for his regular medical checkup. The doctor discovers that he has developed a heart murmur. The pilot has only a month to go before he is eligible for retirement. The doctor knows this and wonders whether, under these unusual circumstances, she is justified in withholding the information about the pilot’s condition.
2. When Sally’s father was gravely ill, he called her to his bedside and said, “I’d always hoped to see you graduate from college and go on to become a physicist, but I know death is near. Promise me one thing–that you’ll keep on studying hard and become a physicist.” Sally was deeply moved. “I will,” she responded; “I swear to you I will.” Her father died shortly thereafter. Now it is two years later, and sally is ready to graduate from college. But she will not become a physicist. She has decided to go to law school.
3. A woman learns that her son-in-law fathered an illegitimate child several years before he met her daughter. (He and his wife have been happily married for ten years. They are childless.) She is sure her daughter is not aware of this and has reason to doubt that she would ever find out about it by herself. The woman feels obliged to tell her, however, and does so.
Analyze the case according to Kant’s Ethics, particularly the concepts of universalizability and respect for persons. For example, what moral duties are involved in the case? Is acting for the sake of one’s duty all that matters or should one consider the potential consequences of one’s actions as well?
Your explanations should have reasons that support them and make specific references to the Burnor and Raley text.